I like Ferrara. More people should go there. It’s a people town.
Maybe it’s a people town because there’s really “nothing” to do there.
But that’s what makes Ferrara fun, in a way. My friend Kyle thought of it as a boring place when he was younger, but now thinks of it as relaxing. His exact words on twitter: “What else is there to do in Ferrara, other than swat mosquitoes? I’ve always thought of it as a relaxed place (now).” I got the same idea, as well as some mosquito bites.
In the evening—especially on Wednesdays, I’m told—folks gather around the duomo, or cathedral—the big thing with the abundance of columns you see on the right. They talk, usually with their hands, perhaps holding a beer from a stand set up right there to dispense draft beer on the street in front of the church. So instead of waiting for all the people to get out of my pictures of medieval monuments (Ferrara has some doozies from the Renaissance), I started photographing them. It was a fun diversion.
Below is a picture of people just out enjoying the day on their bikes. Everyone has a bike. Maybe they have several in case one is stolen. Rich and poor, old and young have bicycles. You feel naked if you’re walking the streets without a tangle of tubes and wheels between your legs.
What’s not so obvious about this picture is that the kids who are too young for bikes, like those in the left background, love to climb on the many stone lions incorporated around the front of the cathedral. You see a kid maybe half a mile from the cathedral and invariably he will start running for the lions, his parents panting along behind. Then it’s time to crawl all over their polished surfaces. They’re wearing down, these lions. But they’re shiny on top. So am I.
There was a medieval festival going on when we were there, with a whole lot of that medieval flag throwing to music provided by marching bands consisting of drummers and people fingering those long heraldic trumpets. But these weren’t the Tonight Show marching bands. These guys showed personality that they probably weren’t supposed to show. Look at the drummer on the left. He seems to be saying, “Geez those flag babes get this wrong every goddam time!” There’s always one in every crowd.
And the last thing I want to add is that Ferrara has lots of kids running around hugging stone lions compared to other places in Italy I’ve been. Lots. And, the ratio of smooching lovers to non-smoochers is darn high, too. I think these two things might be related. I’m making this picture a thumbnail which you can click to see bigger (you can do the same thing with the duomo picture if you like). It looks like an ad for perfume, but I didn’t plan it that way. Still, if you don’t like to see people smooching, don’t go to Ferrara. I’m warning you.
See a Ferrara map and guide to those monuments, if you’re thinking of going and don’t mind the smooching.